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How to Stay Safe During Flu Season

Cedars-Sinai infectious disease experts are sharing a critical message with the public: Get your flu shot.

"Please get it as soon as possible," said Michael Ben-Aderet, MD, associate director of Hospital Epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai, in a video message. "As with any year, the vaccine makes it dramatically less likely that you'll get the flu. But this year is especially important."

Because the flu and COVID-19 can cause similar symptoms, especially at the beginning of the illness, anyone who experiences any of the usual indicators should self-isolate, unless they receive a negative COVID-19 diagnosis.

The overlapping symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache

But getting the influenza vaccine "makes that scenario dramatically less likely by protecting you against the flu," Ben-Aderet said.

In the video, Ben-Aderet added that it's critical to maintain the safety measures that help prevent the spread of not only the virus that causes COVID-19 but influenza as well:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Practice frequent hand hygiene.
  • Maintain physical distance from others.
  • Cover your cough.
  • Avoid people who are sick.

Ben-Aderet urged anyone experiencing health concerns to seek treatment, whether in person at a doctor's office, urgent care clinic or emergency department, or by taking advantage of virtual visits that many providers offer.

"We're heading into unfamiliar territory between flu season and COVID-19. We simply don't know what the next few months will bring," Ben-Aderet said. "But we do know this: While we don't have a novel coronavirus vaccine yet, we do have one for the flu. Take advantage of it."

Visit cedars-sinai.org/flu or contact your primary care provider for more information.